We’re trying something new with the #sachat. Knowing the conversations and questions don’t begin and end every Thursday at 12pm CST, we’ve replaced the Final Thought (FT) with a Final Question (FQ). MOD has been asking our awesome chat participants to tweet us their FQs at the end of the chat and choosing a couple that seem intriguing. These tweeters are then given some homework – with the help of our #sachat network they get their question answered and send us a blog post to be feature right here on the SA Blog. Let’s keep the conversation going friends!.
Last week I asked as my final question from #SAchat: What are good measures to use for proposals besides those listed by the organization/conference?
Institutional program proposal submission systems do a great job at providing parameters and expectations that make assessment of quality “on conference” submissions convenient and rank-able compared to their peers. When our submissions get selected, we assume that they ‘made the cut’ and are worth presenting, discussing, showcasing at the big event. I have come to ask, is that always the case?
Rather than attempt to evaluate what others individually do in preparation for their proposal’s success, I decided to ask questions about what should be asked from any given presentation/proposal that can broadly translate to organization/conference model proposals. The answers I received from the community varied from designing a 10pg description from beginning to end of what their presentation looks like, looking at how others reacted to pretested work and how it aims to impact their conference/organization, and those who believed the need was for a basic foundation which allowed room for creative minds to venture out into a wide range of ideas. Between all of these answers, I submit the following findings:
Point 1: Terminological inexactitude can confuse and dismay presenters. It is highly important to provide explanations in the guides of program proposals for any and all jargon-like terms.
Point 2: Proposal submissions should allow for questions to be asked to the presenter prior to selection. In the few times I took the opportunity to evaluate presentation submissions, I wanted to ask the submitters about their ideas, and decipher if and how it would or would not fit in the overall structure of the conference.
Point 3: Co-authored submissions can create stronger proposals. Proposals get submitted in various time frames—often days before deadlines while a few are made the day the
announcement is made. Taking the opportunity to have someone else help in the design of a submission alleviates individualized stress, catches complexities of ideas and can help translate for reviewers, and can help round out the whole experience in a few pages.
To submitters: create your own rigorous submission station that all proposal submissions in your office/department/cohort funnel through. Take into account measures like audience engagement, time presenting vs. time interacting, and technological usage. When submission time comes, if you come across an unanswered question or measure, add it to your station!
To submission requesters: When asking about presentation dimensions and impacts, what do you use to gauge them and do your submitters know about it? Be as clear as possible in asking from all potential presenters what you would like to see submitted and why it matters. Creating a space for ‘additional’ comments/file submissions can create a venue that differentiates a proposal idea from a proposed presentation.
Agree? Disagree? Both. After all, only the program requesters can create their submission guidelines. Great ones can attract great proposals. Misunderstood ones might create conference dissonance.